“(Tuesday) morning I said, ‘can you give us three, four, maybe five (innings)’ and he looked at me and said ‘coach, I’m going to go today,’ ” Neale said.
And go he did. Triano pitched a masterful complete-game three-hitter in leading the Coyotes to a 3-0 non-conference victory over Hastings on Tuesday at Dean Evans Stadium.
Making his second start of the season Triano (1-1) allowed three singles, struck out nine and walked none. He retired 18 in a row before giving up a two-out single in the ninth but finished the gem by getting a game-ending pop-out.
“He went nine (innings) and he reminded me of that conversation after the game,” Neale said. “His stuff was electric. He was down, down and down (in the strike zone) the whole time. When he missed it was down.”
Triano, a transfer this spring from Hartnell College (Calif.), credited his fastball.
“I just kept pounding the (strike) zone with it and I’d come back with a curveball and the slider,” he said. “The off-speed kept them on their front foot honestly.”
Triano said he found his rhythm early-on.
“Once I get in a groove on the mound you can’t stop me, I’ll just keep shoving it down your throat,” he said.
Triano made his first start of the season March 6 in an 8-4 loss to Friends. He allowed five runs on eight hits in four innings, but Tuesday was a different story.
“I felt like I was more in pace,” he said. “The last time I couldn’t really control my body when I threw my fastball. I came out here at 3 o’clock and (the game) started at 5, just kind of stretched out, got in my groove and went on the mound and just pitched like a normal day.”
Hastings threatened once, in the third inning when the Broncos had two of their three hits. With runners and first and second and two outs Triano persevered by getting Keaton Hoeke, the No. 2 hitter in the order, on a ground ball to short.
Triano, who plays third base when he’s not pitching, has also been a dynamic hitter. He belted two grand slams in KWU’s 17-0 victory over York on March 10 and is batting .476.
“That’s the guy we thought we recruited at semester,” Neale said. “We had an issue with his transcripts getting in and with the quarantine … He really didn’t have a fall (season) and we’ve eased him into it. We knew the talent we were getting; we just hadn’t seen it yet in person.”
The Coyotes (12-9) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Trey Lopez (SR/Burlington, Wash.) led off with a double, went to third on a hit batter and walk and scored when William Dryburgh (SO/St. Joseph, Mo.) drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk.
KWU added two more runs in the fifth. Tyler Latham (JR/Wichita Falls, Texas) walked, went to second on sacrifice bunt and scored on a throwing error on Hasting’s third baseman that allowed Lopez to go from home to third. Lopez scored on Dalton Whitaker (SR/Edmond, Okla.)’s triple off the wall in right center field.
Next up is a three-game Kansas Conference series against Ottawa at Evans Stadium, starting with a single nine-inning game at 3 p.m. Friday. They’ll play a doubleheader starting at noon Saturday.
The Braves are 12-7 overall, 6-2 in the KCAC, while KWU’s 5-3 in conference play.
“We need to get locked in,” Neale said. “We had long a conversation after the game about hitting and approach and stuff. That’s an area we need to make an adjustment and we have to go back to work these next couple of days.”